Trump is making Social Security one of the biggest issues in the 2024 campaign

Social security has quickly become a big talking point of the 2024 campaign.

It keeps coming up, mostly from Donald Trump’s mouth. The former president was in Iowa earlier this week, where he spoke at length on the issue during a campaign rally nominally about education. As in his video messages and other campaign mentions, Trump vowed to keep the program in place and criticized other Republicans like Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for considering cuts.

And he’s not alone. His rivals are laying out the outlines of their own plans, presenting voters with a clear choice, while outside groups are organizing to bring the issue to the fore when voting begins next year.

And experts note that this is anything but a theoretical debate. A potential bankruptcy 10 years from now could result in benefit cuts if Washington doesn’t act, and that conversation may need to be had during the next presidential administration.

“There’s a lot of hard work you have to do, and that’s why you can’t do it two months before exhaustion day; You have to start years in advance,” said Mark Warshawsky, a former deputy social security administrator who now works at the American Enterprise Institute, in an interview this week.

He added that a variety of tax issues — from a possible Medicare and Social Security bankruptcy to the overall deficit — will force Washington into “bigger trade” sooner rather than later, and “that could definitely happen in the next administration of the United States.” case whether it is a Republican or a Democrat.”

Former President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally with supporters March 13, 2023 in Davenport, Iowa. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

A Latest Report of the Trustees of the Government found that Social Security has only the resources to continue paying 100% of benefits through 2034. After that, benefits could be reduced by more than 20%.

“10 years will go by pretty quickly and if we don’t find a solution it will be very bad,” added Robert Powell, co-founder of at a live performance by Yahoo Finance this week.

“He wanted to decimate it”

Politically, the issue is particularly important in states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, as all three states have a larger proportion of people aged 65 and older than the country as a whole. according to the Population Reference Bureau. And then increasingly important Florida and its legions of retirees will likely vote just weeks later.

The Iowa AARP has already started a series of Social Security events in that state a promise to take more action to keep candidates focused on the issue between now and next year’s caucuses. In 2020, the group convened influential candidate forums on retirement issues.

And former President Trump has made Social Security a standard part of his stump speech, in which he said this week DeSantis “voted against Social Security, it’s a bad one” during a lengthy riff on Monday on Monday. in Davenport. “He wanted to decimate it.”

Trump was referring to votes DeSantis had made during his time in Congress on non-binding budget decisions that pushed for raising the retirement age and slowed Social Security spending growth. Other comments from DeSantis from this period contain words of support for the privatization of social security.

Trump has put the issue at the heart of his campaign, promising again this week, “I won’t cut Medicare and I won’t cut Social Security.”

DeSantis has distanced himself from his previous position on the issue, recently telling Fox News, “We’re not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans,” but has yet to comment in detail on his plans, skipping the issue entirely during his own final campaign-style stop in Iowa.

“They focus on the new generation”

But a bit under the radar, substantive discussion about the program has taken place among other candidates and potential candidates.

Nikki Haley recently shared her ideas on the subject tell that to voters in Iowa It would change the retirement age for young Americans and also limit Social Security and Medicare benefits for wealthier Americans.

“You’re focused on the new generation, you’re focused on what’s next,” she said at the town hall event, adding that Democrats’ proposals to prop up the program with tax increases are “the lazy way out.”

Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley attends a campaign after announcing her 2024 presidential campaign in Urbandale, Iowa, the United States, February 20, 2023.  REUTERS/Scott Morgan

Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley during a campaign stop in Iowa in February. (REUTERS/Scott Morgan)

Another possible candidate, former Vice President Mike Pence, has also recently weighed in on the issue. He told an audience – in a video obtained exclusively by Yahoo News – that he wanted to reform the program and have it on the table to “give younger Americans the opportunity to take a portion of their Social Security contributions and put them in.” private savings account.”

Warshawsky says he was pleasantly surprised by the seriousness of some of the ideas, saying that the difficult overall financial situation “changed the conversation [but] So many changes are needed to make the program work in a modern economy.”

The emerging debate is also welcome news for Democratic politicians like President Joe Biden, who see political benefit in raising the issue and have been goading Republicans for months. While the President said little about Social Security in his recent budget proposal, focus on Medicare insteadhe has accused Republicans of wanting to make politically unpopular performance cuts at venues from his address down to the State of the Union.

In an unusual twist, Biden and Trump are in line here. For now, they’re bringing up the issue as a possible weapon against Republicans — and to reassure voters that the system would be safest in their hands only.

Ben Vershkul is the Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.

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